The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says a serious financial penalty handed down to a Christchurch dairy and its owner for unlawfully storing unregulated meat in the shop’s freezer, serves as a strong deterrent.
Fifty-one-year-old Aso Mika, director and manager of a Christchurch dairy at the centre of the incident, and the dairy itself were sentenced in the Christchurch District Court last week after MPI brought a prosecution under the Animal Products Act. Guilty pleas had been entered at an earlier date.
The business was fined $5,000 and Ms Mika was fined $1,750 and ordered to pay court costs of $130.
The offending occurred in November 2016 when Ms Mika agreed to store in the dairy's freezer, carcasses and other cuts of 19 pigs that had been slaughtered and intended for human consumption.
It was intended that the pig products would be stored there until they were ready to be made into meals for a church fundraiser selling pork meals.
Whilst in storage, the pig products caused blood to be spattered on other legitimately processed and supplied products stored in the freezer.
Ministry for Primary Industries acting manager of compliance investigations, Gray Harrison, says the company and Ms Mika didn't have a relevant risk management plan.
"The blood splatter in the freezer is a very serious health risk that presents an opportunity for pathogens to be transferred to commercial food items," says Mr Harrison.
"The processing and sale of animal products outside of the requirements and restrictions of the law endanger human and animal health. Meat intended for human consumption must be documented throughout the food chain so it can be traced back to its farm of origin should there be a health or hygiene issue.
"A risk management plan (RMP) is key to ensuring public safety. Fines associated with the failure to have an RMP must be a deterrent rather than viewed as a licence fee for offending.
"This outcome presents a significant deterrence to anyone who could be about to offend in a similar way."
The pig products were seized under the Act and destroyed.